4 Ways to Be Intentional In Your Marriage
Being intentional is key to having the marriage we’ve always dreamed of.
A strong and healthy marriage doesn’t happen accidentally. Being intentional is key to having the marriage we’ve always dreamed of. Here, we’ll dive into many different topics that will help you begin the process of being intentional with your spouse so that your marriage can be what you’ve always desired it to be.
Am I Being Intentional In My Marriage?
Have you seen the married couple that just seems to always be happy and strong? The couple who just seems to know how to be married? It appears to require little to no effort as they finish each other’s thoughts and find ways to serve each other. They not only love each other, but they like each other, too. So, what makes a married couple have this kind of relationship? One vital key is intentionality.
A healthy, strong marriage doesn’t happen by accident and doesn’t just appear because we felt all the tingly feelings when we dated. When a married couple displays intentionality, they are being deliberate in their actions, purposeful in their plans, and voluntarily acting in the best interest of their marriage, not themselves.
Let’s say you notice a happily married couple and want what they have. You want the depth you see in their relationship. Any couple will tell you that having that takes effort — just ask them.
- You see how happy they appear together, but what you don’t see is the conflict they’ve endured and navigated in order to get to a deeper place in their relationship.
- You see how thoughtful they are with one another, but what you don’t see is the effort they’ve invested to prioritize each other over every other earthly relationship.
- You see how united they are, but what you don’t see is the choices they’ve made to lay down their own plans to make plans that will benefit the marriage.
If you’re thinking that this type of relationship is beyond your reach, it’s time to revise your thoughts. It is possible to have the marriage you’ve always dreamed of.
1. Connect Daily
Truly connecting with our spouse each day is essential for our marriage. Without it, we’ll see our relationship become stagnant. When we aren’t intentional and don’t invest in our spouse, this will eventually cause us to grow apart and become nothing more than roommates and co-parents. Daily connection with our spouse requires proactivity. Here are a few fundamental practices we should incorporate each day.
Praying for people isn’t typically difficult for followers of Jesus. But making a commitment to pray with someone else, especially our spouse, seems to be one thing that many couples neglect. It’s easy to voice an occasional prayer to God for our spouse to get the job or to get over a sickness, but to actually pray aloud with them? This can be scary and embarrassing because people don’t think they don’t do it right. The goal of praying together isn’t to sound super spiritual, but to connect at the deepest possible place with our Creator. If praying isn’t something you’ve done consistently with your spouse, make the decision to begin today. Start slowly with just asking God to give you strength for the day and alternate who leads the prayer each day. As you make this a daily spiritual practice, not only will your connection to God and your spouse grow stronger, but your prayers will grow in depth and become broader in topic.
Communication in a marriage is incredibly vital. It prevents us from drifting from our spouse. When we talk about our day, share our experiences, and tell our spouse about the things that concern us, it connects us to each other and makes our marriage stronger. When we take it a step further and share about our relationship with God and what we’re learning, the connection takes an even deeper dive toward intimacy. Make time to communicate each day with your spouse by not only sharing your heart but by being a great listener when they’re doing the same. Discuss the health of your communication with your spouse and make strides to improve.
When we first begin a dating relationship, it takes no effort to think about the person. But, as time passes, especially into marriage, sometimes it doesn’t come as easy for us. That means we have to make an effort to be thoughtful. Maybe we set reminders each day to call or text. We might even leave notes for them to find. Or we make the call or send the text when we see something that reminds us of them and makes us thankful. It may not feel as romantic to have to schedule a reminder, but the alternative is to neglect our spouse altogether. Ask your spouse if they feel cared for in this way and then make the effort to meet their needs.
2. Support Daily
The world we live in isn’t always friendly. You’ll find disagreements and division about every single topic. Because of that, our spouse should be our closest earthly relationship, and we should be their greatest source of support. We are the ones who “have their back,” and who are “on their team.” Here are a few suggestions on how to be your spouse’s greatest support.
Speak In Love
Words carry a lot of weight. When we speak to others, we can delight or depress, compliment or condemn, help or harm. The words that leave our mouths typically do one of two things: build up or tear down. When voices everywhere chip away at our spouse’s heart, we get to be the one who speaks love, joy, and hope into their lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your internal alarm when words leave your lips that don’t build up your spouse. You’ll be amazed at the person they become simply because you adjust how you speak. As you go through each day, consider the words you speak to, over, and about your spouse, and let them know you plan to be their greatest fan.
Empathy is a quality that doesn’t come easily or naturally for most people. What is it? It’s simply the ability to see another’s viewpoint and attempt to understand their feelings by stepping into “their shoes.” When we do this, it allows us to adjust our actions in any given situation. Even though it’s typically unnatural for us, it can be cultivated and learned. All it takes is effort on our part to see its importance in our relationships. Your spouse isn’t you, and vice versa. When your spouse shares something with you or acts in a certain way, understand the history, experiences, and difficulties guiding their actions. Seek to understand why they do and say what they do because that will give you more compassion when you find it challenging to understand them. Before the day is over, ask your spouse how they feel you’re doing in understanding them.
Everyone has dreams and desires, and that includes your spouse. Some dreams appear attainable and within reach. Others might seem monumental and beyond our abilities. As mentioned, this world can be ugly and people can say and do things to squish our dreams. Spend some time asking your spouse what their dreams and desires are, and truly listen to them. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zones and also let them know you’re willing to help. Sometimes their dreams will inconvenience us, which is an amazing opportunity to show them we support them and are willing to walk with them to achieve those dreams.
3. Protect Daily
Protecting others comes easily for some, but not so easily for others. This isn’t just about physical protection, although that’s part of it. Protecting our spouse will also protect our marriage. So many things are vying for our time, attention, and hearts that it’s wise for us to go into protection mode in our marriages. Here are a few thoughts as to how you can protect your spouse.
Grow Through Conflict
Conflict is inevitable, because we’ll disagree and become annoyed. Yet, conflict helps us grow deeper in our marriage because we’ve learned how to navigate that relational hurdle. How well couples repair the damage from their conflict is a vital component to a long and successful marriage. Don’t try to push an issue aside and avoid challenging situations. As you experience conflict, choose to fight for your spouse, not against them. Your spouse may feel hurt during conflict, but don’t intend to do that. Walk through conflict in a healthy way in order to protect your spouse. Spend time analyzing your marriage when it comes to conflict. Ask each other, “Do you feel that we fight fairly and handle conflict well?”
A marriage should have a culture of honesty. This is only built if both believe that being honest is absolutely necessary. Often, we don’t want to be completely honest for fear that we’ll be rejected by our spouse. It also could be that we don’t want to hurt our spouse with the truth. We think avoiding the truth will prevent pain, but in the end, it only causes more. Being honest with our spouse protects our marriage from deception. If we’re honest in the little things, that will lead us to be honest in all things. Take an honest look at your marriage. Discuss the culture of your marriage with your spouse as it relates to honesty or deception. Assess areas that need an adjustment.
Be a Step Ahead
This particular area of marriage is so very simple, yet it can make a significant impact. Each spouse has their own load to carry, burdens to bear, and hardships to endure. Seeking to be empathetic in order to see the responsibilities your spouse has will help you learn how to serve them. When you do this, you’ll be a step ahead and they won’t have to even ask. Look for ways you can protect their schedule from being overwhelmed. Surprise them by doing a chore they normally do, and do it for them. Incorporating these small things into your marriage will show your spouse that you truly care and desire to protect them.
4. Love Daily
When we love others, it goes way beyond feeling an emotion that makes us smile and feel tingly inside. The love God showed toward us is our guide in showing love toward others. Loving our spouse daily includes actively putting their needs above ours and honoring them even when we don’t feel like it. Some days it’s easier to love our spouse, and some days it’s a choice. Here are some ideas that will help you truly love your spouse.
One of the things that may have attracted you to your spouse is that they’re completely different than you. Whether that’s the case or not, finding activities in common will build the friendship and bond you have. Consider serving at your church or a non-profit together. Maybe there’s a sport you could watch or an activity you could do. It’s not necessarily what you do, but that you find a shared activity to enjoy together. If this isn’t something you’ve ever considered, spend some time with your spouse and discuss some different options.
Prioritize Your Spouse
In the world we live in, there are a million different things vying for our time. We say yes to things that we probably shouldn’t have. When we do, it’s typically our spouses who get pushed to the back of the priority line. We assume they’ll understand, and they might, but consistently doing this will cause a rift that’ll be hard to overcome. So, choose your spouse over every other earthly relationship. Prioritize your time with them so they’ll feel valued, cherished, and loved. Take some time to ask your spouse this question: Do you feel like you’re my priority? Then, listen without defenses raised, and be willing to make some changes.
The word affection means a strong fondness, which can be displayed in a variety of ways. We aren’t all created equal when it comes to our needs, so it’s wise to learn how your spouse receives and feels loved by you. It could be words, or it could be hugs. Maybe your spouse feels how fond you are of them when you do something for them because it shows they were on your mind. Have a conversation with your spouse about what makes them feel that you are displaying affection toward them, and then make a daily plan to do just that. If you already know, what are you waiting for?